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Tales of the Electric Goon

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posted on Nov, 11 2019 @ 01:30 PM
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The legendary C-47 Gooney Bird has flown in many guises during her long and venerable career. This was a very special, highly classified role for the "Grand Old Lady".

Electric Goon is the nickname given to a series of C-47s filled with special equipment that conducted Top Secret Electronic Warfare operations during the Vietnam War. They were the C-47D, EC-47N, EC-47P, and EC-47Q. One of the classified elements of Electric Goon operations was that 2 separate crews were involved.

Electric Goon operational bases and units, '68-'69.
Air Base site, Back-end Crew, Front-end Crew, Aircraft tail letters

Tan Son Nhut; HQ 6994th; 360th *TEWS; AJ
Nha Trang; Det 1, 6994th; 361st TEWS; AL
Pleiku; Det 2, 6994th; 362nd TEWS; AN
*Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron

The Front-end Crew:
AC (Aircraft Commander)
Co-Pilot
Navigator
Flight Engineer
They wore colorful unit patches on their flight suits. They strutted their stuff.

The Back-end Crew
AMC/Analyst (Airborne Mission Supervisor,) 202
X--RDF operator (Radio Direction Finding), 292
Y--Morse Intercept, 292
Z-1--Voice Intercept, 203 (me)
Z-2--Morse Intercept, 292
We were FORBIDDEN to wear ANY patches on our flight suits. We were hush-hush and misterioso. We worked for the NSA.

We called the front-enders "the bus drivers". It was their mission to get the back-enders where we needed to be to accomplish OUR mission, which was classified ABOVE their level of clearance.

Seriously, we worked as a team. The front-end crew, Operations staff and aircraft ground crews; and the back-end crews, Operations staff and Bravo-maintenance. Each unit involved in Electric Goon operations has a highly-decorated and distinguished history.

My 50 year old memories are jogged and refreshed by my Air Force flight records, the declassified history of the 6994th available on the Angelo State University website (search ASU 6994th), personal unit records, and my valuable copy of the 1999 book by James C. Wheeler, RIP, "The EC-47 Experience" (Amazon lists 1 used copy for $375)

Front-end crews took the Continental Airlines tagline "The Proud Bird with the Golden Tail" and turned it into "The old bird with the red ass". Their artists designed an apropos unit badge "Antique Airlines" easily searchable.

To all those who flew in the Electric Goon but didn't come home. (See you soon, brothers)

edit on 11-11-2019 by exNSA20371 because: (no reason given)




posted on Nov, 11 2019 @ 01:35 PM
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a reply to: exNSA20371

Thank you for your service



posted on Nov, 11 2019 @ 01:39 PM
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a reply to: exNSA20371







posted on Nov, 11 2019 @ 01:49 PM
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a reply to: exNSA20371

I thank you for your service!



posted on Nov, 11 2019 @ 02:34 PM
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a reply to: carsforkids

and to Night Star

It was an Honor to Serve.




posted on Nov, 11 2019 @ 02:36 PM
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originally posted by: alldaylong
a reply to: exNSA20371






I knew someone on ATS would mention BBC's legendary "The Goon Show" and the equally legendary Peter Sellers, Spike Milligan and Harry Secombe!!



posted on Nov, 11 2019 @ 02:39 PM
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Love the thread.




posted on Nov, 11 2019 @ 03:15 PM
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a reply to: dashen

Thank you, sir! That is indeed high praise coming from you!




posted on Nov, 11 2019 @ 04:21 PM
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a reply to: exNSA20371

Thank you for your service.

Also thank you for sharing this bit of history. Very appropriate for today



posted on Nov, 11 2019 @ 06:46 PM
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originally posted by: Blaine91555
a reply to: exNSA20371

Thank you for your service.

Also thank you for sharing this bit of history. Very appropriate for today


I repeat, with sincerity, that it WAS my Honor to Serve, and it is my distinct pleasure to be sharing my memories of an obscure unit with a unique role, in those turbulent times a half century ago, whose history was recently declassified.

Thank you, Blaine91555, for recognizing the significance of the OP for today.




posted on Nov, 11 2019 @ 08:40 PM
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a reply to: exNSA20371

It would be great if some other ATS vets would join your thread and share
anything that isn't to painful for them here. You guys n gals who went to Nam are
wearing pretty thin these days. And any addition by any veteran is an addition
to history.

Respect


edit on 11-11-2019 by carsforkids because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 11 2019 @ 10:01 PM
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a reply to: carsforkids

My salute to you, carsforkids, for grasping the intent of an archival history for the OP.
Here's the thing, those on ATS younger, who did the same things as I did, are not cleared to discuss their memories freely.
The Mafia "code of silence" has nothing over the NSA Code of Silence.
You are so right, the Vietnam Vets are getting old and dying off. I'm doing my part to get the word out.
Some listen, like you....most don't care.



posted on Nov, 11 2019 @ 11:57 PM
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Today, November 11, 2019, is the 100th Anniversary of the First Armistice Day Anniversary Observance of the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, signaling the end of the First World War.

Armistice Day became Veteran's Day in 1954.



posted on Nov, 12 2019 @ 06:57 AM
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a reply to: exNSA20371

Thank you, sir, for the history and your service! Very interesting to hear stories like this. It puts the breadth of what was happening in perspective. The image in most people's minds are planes dropping bombs and infantry in the jungle. So many other moving pieces.

The complexity of it all is mind-blowing, and many of the most important parts are the least well-known.



posted on Nov, 12 2019 @ 02:14 PM
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originally posted by: dogstar23
a reply to: exNSA20371

Thank you, sir, for the history and your service! Very interesting to hear stories like this. It puts the breadth of what was happening in perspective. The image in most people's minds are planes dropping bombs and infantry in the jungle. So many other moving pieces.

The complexity of it all is mind-blowing, and many of the most important parts are the least well-known.



Thank you for your response and interest!

As to the "planes dropping bombs"...a lot of them knew where to drop the bombs because Electric Goon crews found and pinpointed their targets.
As to "the complexity of it all", General Patton said this: "Compared to war, all other forms of human endeavor shrink to insignificance".
As to "infantry in the jungle"...I thanked God every day I was there that I wasn't a poor grunt in the bush luggin' an M-16.

Peace



posted on Nov, 16 2019 @ 02:01 AM
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Electric Goon crews were either beer drinkers, or not. Those that were will remember the National Beer of South Vietnam, "33"...it was served in a long-neck bottle that had a red label with the numbers in gold. 33 is pronounced in Vietnamese as "bah-mooie-bah", slurred by GIs into "barfety-barf". I swear that each batch tasted slightly differently and had a slightly different alcohol content, but it was cheap and effective...it wasn't called "barfety-barf" for nothing! A joke went around that a sample of the brew had been sent to a lab and the results came back reporting that "the horse urine had a low PH balance".

So if a Viet-Vet can't remember 33 beer, he wasn't there...or drank so much he forgot!



posted on Nov, 16 2019 @ 04:27 AM
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Thanks for the excellent narrative on Electric Goonys. Being a Navy ASW air crewman during those time frames, we also had some pretty amazing electronic surveillance capabilities, but not even close to what you had in those birds.

We could, however, find just about anything on or below the waves, with weapons to attack it if necessary.



posted on Nov, 16 2019 @ 02:30 PM
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a reply to: charlyv

Thank you for your kind comments, brother, I really appreciate it!

I like the photo of the Lockheed P-3 Orion in your avatar, with the ASW MAD boom (Magnetic Anomoly Detector). The Orion is a venerable bird in its own right and I salute you for your service. I'm sure you're familiar with the "Hainan Island Incident" that occured on April 1, 2001. That was a Naval Security Group EP-3E bird flying for the NSA.

The USS Pueblo and USS Liberty were also NSG and the names of the fallen are on the NSA's "Wall of Honor".

Thank you, again!



posted on Nov, 17 2019 @ 07:42 PM
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a reply to: exNSA20371

You are most welcome and thank you for your service, as well.

Been out of that for so many years I would give a years pay to fly a mission in what has replaced what we had then.



posted on Nov, 18 2019 @ 02:15 PM
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a reply to: charlyv

We think alike, brother!

In a way we're like old cavalry horses retired to pasture. The sound of a bugle still perks our ears up, gets the adrenaline pumping, and makes our hearts young and eager again.

Civilians can only wonder what motivated us.

There's a military toast in the movie "Gardens of Stone":

Here's to us
and those like us
damn few left.

Live long and prosper, charlyv!



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